How did we get here?
She felt the knot in her stomach tighten as the phone rang, knowing her husband was visiting his son in prison. Familiar feelings of anger, fear, and shame flooded her heart. How did we get here? she thought.
My stepmom friend, Nancy, had never been married, nor had children of her own. She’d entered stepfamily life full of excitement and hope. Her expectations quickly turned to disillusionment, however, when they returned from their honeymoon. Upon their return, they found that her stepson had entered their home without permission and hosted a raucous party for his teenage friends. Her idyllic world took a dramatic turn as she uncovered empty beer cans and listened to her neighbor’s reports of disturbance.
Nancy had been raised in a safe and loving Christian home where respect for authority laid a foundation for family stability.
She believed God had brought her and her husband together to redeem a broken family.
Instead, their home became a hotbed of rebellion and chaos as her stepson defied their family values and rules.
But she never quit trusting God for brighter days and renewed relationships.
In the midst of the darkness, Nancy drew strength from knowing God saw her prodigal son as His beloved child and longed to be in relationship with him.
She focused on God’s Word to find hope for her discouragement:
- “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down” (Isaiah 43:1-4 MSG).
- “Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue” (Luke 15:7 MSG).
Loving a prodigal requires radical compassion that doesn’t fixate on behavior. Instead, it pursues the heart. The chains of sin are strong, but God still redeems the lost. After years of broken promises, failed drug recovery programs, and even a year in prison, Nancy’s stepson now works in another state and lives on his own. God is healing broken relationships, and their family is making new memories built on forgiveness and trust for the road ahead.
There is hope for anyone whose children are in the far country. God hears your prayers.
You can trust Him to faithfully pursue the wandering heart of your prodigal with unfailing compassion and never-ending love.
Do you have a wandering prodigal? Do you have other suggestions to offer? Leave a comment and I’d be honored to pray for you.
Taken from Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families